Raised spirits were evident all around Chemainus Saturday in more ways than one for the Fall Festival and Fun Run.
The first major event allowed to happen under COVID protocols around the community was, to quote Bobby (Boris) Pickett of Monster Mash fame, “a graveyard smash.”
Creepy characters in costumes patrolled the town and everyone who attended – many from out-of-town – had so much fun they forgot how long we’ve been caught in COVID’s evil grasp.
The town let loose, kids came in droves to celebrate Halloween and the big kids had just as much fun, too.
There was something for everyone, from music and entertainment to countless children’s games to sidewalk sales to the fun run giving everyone a chance to let off some steam running or walking and so much more.
“I think it was really needed,” said Krystal Adams, the executive director of the Chemainus Business Improvement Association that organized the event. “For the first time, people could get together and feel OK.”
That doesn’t mean people totally ignored regulations, of course. It’s just everyone had a good time primarily outside at various locations, although there was a scavenger hunt inside the Chemainus Valley Museum and businesses and larger spaces like within the Public Market in Chemainus welcomed people inside as well.
“It was busy,” said Adams. “It was good people kept their distance. They were still doing what they should be doing.”
The event seemed to fill up more as the day went on, rather than see crowds diminish earlier. People stuck around and it was such a great time with so much to do no one wanted to leave.
“It was just like everybody started to trickle in by 12, 12:30,” noted Adams.
Carlson’s Dancers got the crowd going. Some folks did their own dancing as well to the music in the Waterwheel Park Square.
“We’re taking a minute to just be happy,” explained Adams of the mood. “It was like we fought a war and despite it still happening people were so happy to just be feeling normal again.”
The kids had a colouring contest to enter and games and crafts galore so no one could possibly get bored.
Adams had more than 1,000 prizes plus stickers to give away.
“Kids were getting prizes just for playing games,” she noted.
More than 200 adults plus about 30 children entered the Fun Run, choosing distances of either 5K or 2K to walk or run.
Partial proceeds from entries and other fundraising has resulted in more than $4,000 going to the Chemainus Harvest House Food Bank, with more donations pending.
Stephanie Hobbs of Chemainus Chiropractic and Doc (The Barber) Morrell, under the name Cutty McStabber, went above and beyond to raise $2,126 themselves from donations and haircuts.
“We just pulled in donations, she did a day of haircuts and I let everyone know what were doing,” said Hobbs. “It was very successful.”
Mike Whitehead of Maple Bay, who has ties to Chemainus, put himself in the line of fire at a dunk tank sponsored by Debbie Simmonds to raise nearly $200. He got dunked nearly a dozen times to do it.
All in all, it was a treat to be in Chemainus Saturday and everyone’s looking forward to doing it all again – perhaps even better and a bit bigger –next year.